Background checks improve hiring
You can't afford to skip this crucial step when recruiting employees.
The nightmares of a negligent hiring, negligent retention, or wrongful termination suit are prompting some practices to do pre-employment screening—for good reason. Careful background checks can weed out applicants who might cause problems.
You can do your own check, or you can tap a firm that specializes in this area. Things you may want to review: education and employment history; special certificates, credentials, or licenses; military service; driving record; civil litigation; criminal record; real estate records; drug tests; and more.
Be aware, though, there are limits to how you can collect and use the information. Consult with your lawyer about what you plan to gather and how you plan to use it. You want to make sure you aren't invading applicants' privacy, defaming them, or interfering with their contractual rights.
One way to protect yourself is to gain permission from the applicant to do a background check. Your lawyer can assist you in developing releases or waivers for applicants to sign.
If your check turns up surprising information, consider re-checking it before you make a hiring decision. When appropriate, you also may want to give the applicant the opportunity to explain or correct information.
Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., JD, is a management educator and writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.